TBWA Bolsters Leadership, Doubles Down on Strategy
March 20, 2020
TBWA\Worldwide today announced the appointment of two Chief Strategy Officers: Agathe Guerrier and Emma Montgomery, and Deepthi Prakash, Global Director of Product and Marketing.
The moves build on the company’s investment in inputs and strategy across the global collective.
Based in Los Angeles, Montgomery and Guerrier will be jointly tasked with leading the strategy discipline across TBWA’s global collective. The appointments signal continued investment in strategy and planning across the company. In the last three years, TBWA has increased the percentage of strategists in its employee base by 34% globally, company-wide.
Guerrier and Montgomery will share oversight of communications planning, customer experience, TBWA’s culture lab Backslash, its research and intelligence platform Knowledge, and the agency’s Disruption® methodology. They will play a critical role in shaping disruptive, business-building creative product within the collective and ensuring unconventional thinking at every step across clients’ customer journeys.
Prakash joins as Global Director, Product and Marketing, a new role for the company. Based in New York, she will drive the overall group marketing strategy for the global collective and lead the go-to-market strategy for agency products. In recent years TBWA’s focus on innovation has led to a multitude of products and services on top of the agency’s core creative offer, as clients seek partners that can help streamline their marketing ecosystem. Partnering with Luke Eid, TBWA’s Chief Innovation Officer, Prakash will be charged with taking these new products and services to market.
“In disruptive times, there’s a more urgent need for both divergent and systematic thinking,” said Troy Ruhanen, CEO, TBWA\Worldwide. “We need the creative ideas that come from exploring different questions, avenues and solutions, and then the discipline and process to make them a reality. As our clients navigate the days, months and years ahead, we must help them to engage with their customers in new ways, through the lens of a powerful brand platform, while simultaneously closing the gap to conversion faster than ever. Agathe, Emma and Deepthi will help our clients find the balance of brand platform thinking and the need to convert.”
The latest example of talent returning to TBWA from consultancies or clients, Prakash comes to TBWA from Cognizant Interactive, where she served as Global Head of Strategy & Design. She helped to set up Cognizant’s Interactive practice by packaging skills in insight, strategy, design, content, and technology into services and offerings that spoke to client needs, and successfully delivered growth for the practice. Prior to Cognizant, Prakash was Managing Director at Accenture Interactive, where she led the content planning practice, creating a content-based marketing model that calibrated the roles of content creators, media companies and advertising agencies to deliver effective, high quality content for brands. She began her career at Ogilvy New York, later moving on to BBDO.
Ruhanen added, “Our offering has become much more diverse, spanning from creative product to content production, e-commerce, business consultancy services, experience design, experiential and shopper marketing, community management, performance marketing, cultural strategy and more. In the current climate brands will have different needs. Deepthi’s experience working across consultancies and agencies puts her in a unique position to ensure we’re designing products and solutions for now and the next five years.”
“As C-suite leaders look for non-traditional partners to help transform customer experience, TBWA brings an unmatched suite of products and services that combine creativity, technology, and data to deliver tangible outcomes over reports and process. In addition, the company’s diverse leadership, collaborative culture, and restlessness to keep building upon its success was too compelling to ignore,” said Prakash.
Montgomery joins TBWA from Leo Burnett Chicago, where she was hired as Chief Strategy Officer in 2017 and later appointed to the role of Co-President in 2019. Prior to that, she established and led the integrated strategy practice at Leo Burnett Sydney and spent 12 years at Starcom globally where she pioneered efforts to bring people into the experience design process with the agency’s first co-creation studio, the Human Experience Center. She has cemented her career in bridging the art of consumer planning and creativity to build commercial outcomes for iconic brands including Coors Light, Diageo, Kraft and Kellogg’s.
Guerrier has spent the past three years as Head of Strategy at BBH LA, and previously spent another five years at BBH London, where she quickly rose through the ranks to the agency’s leadership team to become Head of Strategy and Managing Partner. While at BBH London, she led strategy for some of the agency’s most creatively progressive brands, including Axe and The Guardian, and ran BBH’s global R&D unit and renowned publishing platform, BBH Labs. In Los Angeles, her focus was on disruptor brands in the entertainment and technology space such as Google, T-Mobile and Quibi. She was also essential to developing and piloting BBH LA’s brand-owned IP model (BBH Entertainment), which saw its first two releases in the last six months for Depeche Mode and Unilever. Her previous agency experience includes roles with Mother and France’s BETC.
Ruhanen continued, “In appointing co-CSOs, we recognize that the role of strategy has expanded exponentially. It’s time to challenge the convention that everything should be handled by one person. Instead we chose two brilliant people with complementary skills. Together they will be able to lead the strategy discipline at the highest level across our global collective, operating at the intersection of cultural intelligence, customer experience and data, ensuring our talent are working from the sharpest insights to deliver disruptive creativity that drives business.”
“From the days I started my career in Paris, I’ve always admired TBWA for their high standards of creativity and their practice of Disruption®. The collective is in a unique position, combining locally strong, culturally connected agencies around the world, together with a genuine commitment to invest in innovation and cultural intelligence at a global level,” said Guerrier.
Montgomery concluded, “Disruption as a business tool has never been more relevant or more necessary. I’m looking forward to partnering with Agathe and the team to accelerate the application of disruptive creativity to more categories, clients and problems.”